CRAIG CONLEY (Prof. Oddfellow) is recognized by Encarta as “America’s most creative and diligent scholar of letters, words and punctuation.” He has been called a “language fanatic” by Page Six gossip columnist Cindy Adams, a “cult hero” by Publisher’s Weekly, and “a true Renaissance man of the modern era, diving headfirst into comprehensive, open-minded study of realms obscured or merely obscure” by Clint Marsh. An eccentric scholar, Conley’s ideas are often decades ahead of their time. He invented the concept of the “virtual pet” in 1980, fifteen years before the debut of the popular “Tamagotchi” in Japan. His virtual pet, actually a rare flower, still thrives and has reached an incomprehensible size. Conley’s website is OneLetterWords.com.
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A Turkish Delight of musings on languages, deflations of metaphysics, vauntings of arcana, and great visual humor.
The Right Word

November 20, 2017 (permalink)

The "oldest inhabitant," not the "quietest" — a correction from Harper's Bazaar, 1911.  This recalls a scene in Fawlty Towers, in which a dead man is assumed to merely be quiet.
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November 7, 2017 (permalink)

And how true those words are, even today.  From A Work on English Grammar & Composition by Clark & Maynard, 1877.
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November 6, 2017 (permalink)

Some good news via spirit writing -- "You were troubled once with evil spirits; but now they are no more.  They have bid adieu, and good spirits have come and are with you all the time."  From Modern Spiritualism by Eliab Wilkinson Capron, 1855.
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November 5, 2017 (permalink)

Sometimes a magazine, like Absolutely Fabulous' Eddie Monsoon, wishes to be all the types of things.  The Mechanics' Magazine, Museum, Register, Journal, and Gazette, 1837.
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November 4, 2017 (permalink)

This is the final line of The Female Freemasons, 1840.  One recalls what Warren Mars said: "The final line should have read: 'and they watched the young dragons fly up and up into the azure sky until they became just dots, and then disappeared.  "Let’s go home," said Reyne.'"  Granted, Mars was referring to a different book, but we find that his suggestion has universality.
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October 26, 2017 (permalink)

"Er the Gobble uns'll git you ef you don't watch out!"  Date uncertain.
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October 17, 2017 (permalink)

Here's spirit writing promising better days.  "You must not fear, brother, that you will be troubled with evil spirits any more.  No, brother; no more.  [Signed,] Your spirit-sister, Bliss."  From Modern Spiritualism by Eliab Wilkinson Capron, 1855.
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October 16, 2017 (permalink)

"To 'spell' a word, we have to cast a spell or charm over it, to bring the letters into place so as to compel its meaning to appear, or cast a magic spell over the word, or bring together the letters which are potent to dissplve or unravel speech."  From Symbolic Mythology and Translation of a Lost and Forgotten Language by John Martin Woolsey, 1917.   Very much of interest: The Young Wizard's Hexopedia.
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From Popular Mechanics, 1929.
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October 12, 2017 (permalink)

And how true those words are, even today.  From A Work on English Grammar & Composition by Clark & Maynard, 1877.
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October 6, 2017 (permalink)

Here's a partial translation of "The Mysterious Poem" of polyglot jargon, from Tales, Poetry, and Fairy Tales by Walter Brown, 1884.
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The Last Sentence by Maxwell Gray (1893) has a doozy of a first sentence, with no fewer than four semicolons and an em-dash.  The last sentence of The Last Sentence?  It is: "One day, perhaps, the muffled echo might cease."
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October 3, 2017 (permalink)

For reformation read separation, for hamper read transfer, for addressing read advising, for ministers read members.  From The Law Magazine and Law Review, 1856.
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September 29, 2017 (permalink)

And how true those words are, even today.  From A Work on English Grammar & Composition by Clark & Maynard, 1877.
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September 25, 2017 (permalink)

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September 24, 2017 (permalink)

From the Bismarck Tribune, 1883.  Via Yesterday's Print.
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September 23, 2017 (permalink)

A son of Penn wasn't a son of man, in this correction from The Messenger of Peace, 1922.
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The mole in molecules.  From The Story of a Secret and the Secret of a Story by Ismay Thorn, 1887.
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September 19, 2017 (permalink)

These rows of asterisks are a veil of winking stars from the birth of creation, relating details that the author fears to describe.  From The Mythological Zoo by Oliver Herford, 1912.
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September 17, 2017 (permalink)

Pine/rhyme.  If a near-rhyme falls in a pine forest and there's no one to hear it, does it make an assonance of itself?  Needles of Pine: Lines Without Rhyme by Charles Wellington Stone, 1886.
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